Most of the articles I submit are to help the average web user or website owner learn a few web related tidbits. This one is geared toward web developers.
The scam asks about doing web development and whether it can be paid via credit card. It lets you know right away that they have a good budget to make the site. They also tell you they want it to be like a particular other site that you can check out to see what the project will entail.
Then the scam is presented – the scammer needs a favor. When you write back and ask what that favor is, here is a verbatim response I received:
“The favor i need from you is. i would give you my card info’s to charge for $7,700 plus credit card company charges, so $2,000 would be a down payment for my website design and the remaining $5,500 you would help me send it to the project consultant that has the text content and the logo for my website so once he has the $5,500 he would send the text content and logo needed for my website to you also the funds would be sent to him via Instant Transfer or Cashier Check into his account, sending of funds would be after funds clears into your account And also $200tip for your stress So i will be looking forward to read back from you. Thanks”
Then I indicate my credit card company doesn’t allow such transactions. I never hear from them again…
Most scams are built upon the greediness of the mark – purposely using poor grammar and presenting what looks like it’ll be a easy way to make some quick cash. That’s how they trick you out of your money. We all know the old saying: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Explained really simply, domain names are just pointers that convert recognizable words or characters to Internet addresses so we can view a website. Whenever a domain name is created, its creation date and expiration date are publicly available.
There are many domain scams out there. A rather common one I often see is where an unscrupulous company tries to overcharge you for your domain name and get control of it.
The main way they do this is by first scaring you into thinking you might lose your domain name because it is expiring. They do this by sending a carefully crafted letter to you through the postal service. The message appears at first glance to resemble an invoice convincing you to renew your domain name with them. These messages are very convincing.
Reading the “invoice” carefully actually reveals it states it is not an invoice – but in fact it is an “offer”. That statement is what keeps it “legal”. Amazingly, some of the companies that trick domain owners like this have been prohibited from operating in Canada after being legally challenged by the Canadian government.
My advice is to always check with your domain provider when presented with anything appearing to be a bill that appears suspicious. It will save you a lot of headaches going forward.
Most of us think “hit and run” refers to a car accident. We’ve been using that phrase in the web world since starting this business in 1998.
Most of our web clients have been victimized by website hit and runs. That’s where a web developer hits you up for the cost of building your website and – if you’re lucky enough to have them complete the project – they run.
The main reason is because that initial developer really doesn’t have a robust grasp of the website development field. They stop being responsive to you because they simply don’t know how to modify or alter their work. This usually happens because they used quick templates that they simply don’t know how to adjust or modify.
In most cases I’ve seen, these so-called web developers are part timers doing a little web work on the side. They may provide what seems like a fantastic deal at the time – but leave you high and dry when the time comes that you need changes made to your website.
Although there are no guarantees you’ll never experience this – there are a few things you can check on. First of all see if they are a legitimate business. You can check this and other factors at https://cwcorner.com and in the upper right corner hit the magnifying glass and type “legitimate” and hit enter.
Don’t be the victim of a hit and run – you can minimize it happening to you by checking the potential web developer out before getting involved with them.
I’ve written several articles about specific scams that are occurring on a regular basis on the Internet. They seem to subside for a short time – a very short time – and then a wave of them happens again.
One of the worst – as far as I am concerned – are the ones where the email recipient is being told they must verify their email. These have some common traits with most Internet scams:
1) A sense of urgency – they want you to take care of this immediately
2) A time limit – they give you within 24 hours to act
3) A threat – they tell you your email will be locked.
The first thing you have to understand is that nearly everyone gets these on occasion. I have received them myself in which they are made to look like they are from CharlesWorks. So when our clients get these they tend to become very worried very quickly.
I can’t stress enough that most legitimate companies will not send out messages like these. To fall prey to these can be a real nightmare. With access to one’s email these days the bad guys can wreak havoc in one’s life. The worst cases are called identity theft!
Don’t be the unfortunate one who falls prey to these scammers. If you have been “notified” of something serious – call your provider up and speak with a representative. Just like at my company – it’s a lot easier for us to allay your fears than to have to try to clean up the mess that can happen with compromised accounts.
Along with all the many scams out there on the Internet are what I’d call the “inflated monthly maintenance plans”.
These are usually fixed monthly pricing plans that include hosting and website maintenance. Such plans are touted as providing the business owner with a means to budget ongoing website maintenance, so-to-speak.
I’ve seen many of these offerings since 1998. I’ve also spoken with many website owners who have had such plans. They’re almost never advantageous to the business owner.
In most cases, business website owners had paid up to several hundred dollars a month for these plans – for many years in some cases. Most never had any work done to their websites. Those who did have work done indicated it was far less value than they had paid for with their “budget”.
Put specifically in dollar terms, some had paid thousands of dollars for only about a hundred dollar’s worth of web updates over time. For that reason I highly recommend businesses avoid such plans.
In short, be very careful about doing business with web companies or web developers that want to sell you these inflated monthly maintenance plans. Paying for website work on an as-you-need-it basis will almost always cost you much, much less in the long term.
I’ve mentioned SEO (Search Engine Optimization) throughout many articles. While it is important – I believe it’s the most abused area of website development.
It’s important for your business website to be found in the search engines. That is best and most inexpensively done by having pertinent material in your website so the search engines see your website as pertinent or closely related to a topic.
There are many unscrupulous individuals and companies out there selling just plain bogus SEO. It’s often impossible to discern the truth. There are no regulations or meaningful certifications in this field.
As an example – let’s say you receive a dozen Viagra spam messages in a month. Does that mean you need it? Certainly just because a number of spam messages are saying you need something doesn’t turn it into a fact.
Why would you believe the same about SEO regarding your search placements on the Internet? Our web clients are bombarded with spam and with phone calls saying they need this and that for their websites. Some fall prey to these sales pitches and some even go out of business as a result of spending hundreds of dollars each month on scams.
Your web developer should care about you as a client – should want you to be as successful as possible and not up-selling you right out of business.
The worst part of the SEO scams is they can oftentimes hurt your placement with the search engines.
Don’t fall prey to the scamsters selling these bogus “services”. Check with your web developer FIRST about such offers to find out if they are for real or whether you actually need them.
It’s Halloween time again so I thought I’d mention Halloween Spoofs! Well, actually email spoofing happens year round.
An example of spoofing is when emails are sent that are addressed from you (and maybe to you) but you didn’t send them. In that case your address has been “spoofed”.
Spammers and scammers alike do this. There are a couple reasons it’s done.
Sometimes it is malicious. Let’s say someone goes onto numerous websites to sign up for information as XYZ Company. So a ton of spam is sent to XYZ. XYZ finds itself barraged with email and phone spam – wasting lots of their time.
More often XYZ is spoofed to appear to be the sender of spam. Folks local to XYZ are more likely to open the spoofed emails. The spam really isn’t from XYZ – just made to look like it is. So recipients think XYZ is spamming them. They’re annoyed with XYZ and report them as spammers and complain and so on.
Fortunately, spoofing doesn’t account for most Internet issues. It just makes life miserable for XYZ – the target – for a while.
The good news is that usually spoofing usually only lasts a few days. The actual sending server is identified and blocked or shut down.
Always report these issues to your email administrator. Early intervention saves lots of headaches in the long term.
Two components of a website are the domain and hosting. Websites are accessed easiest with these.
Domain names are labels typed into web browsers that point to a particular website. Usually they’re a word or words pertinent to the website. Each domain is unique. There can only one of each in the world.
Hosting is a server space for a website. It’s available 24-7 for anyone anytime it is accessed. Websites usually contain coding that shows what the site visitor would view as a website.
Finally, the website coding can reside in the hosted web space. That’s what makes the site appear. Or the coding may just jump off (redirect) to go to a different address.
My favorite analogy is to a house. There’s an address (domain name). It’s rented each month (hosting) so one can show off its furniture (web coding). It doesn’t matter whether there’s a little or lots of furniture – they pay rent (hosting).
Does your web company require hosting or domain contracts? Reputable ones won’t. They’re willing to ALWAYS provide the best service to you instead of just before contract renewals.
Contact your hoster to determine whether they’ve locked you in or you’re free to move where you can get the best service.
Website visitor safety is extremely important. I’ve mentioned terms here before like SSL, encryption, security and so on. These involve that little green or grey lock in front of the web address in your browser. Clicking on that tells you whether the encryption is valid and what site it’s issued to.
Providing encryption was traditionally expensive for website operators. However, it can be had for free these days. There’s no reason not to have it.
Encryption refers to a method on website servers that helps ensure you are actually on the website you think you are on. This greatly reduces the risks of fraud.
Ripping you off is a top priority for many nefarious individuals and organizations on the web. One method is tricking you into giving your credit card or other personal information on a “fake” site or web page. These pages often look exactly like those of your bank’s or credit card company’s or even your email’s login pages.
There’s usually a small one-time charge for initial setup. Website owners should check with their hosting company or web developer to ensure website encryption (SSL) is included in their monthly hosting at no extra charge. If need be, it’s worthwhile to move to a company whose hosting provides this.
When working in the web world as I do, Internet scams appear to be everywhere.
Phishing is defined as the act of attempting to trick the recipient of a malicious email into opening and engaging with it.
It’s amazing how people fall for phishing scams. They fall for them mostly because the emails are designed to appear like the writer isn’t too bright. So immediately the recipient thinks they have the upper hand. Many count on the recipient’s greed – believing they’ll get something for nothing.
The bad guys that develop these schemes are experts. All they do is work scams – day and night. They wouldn’t continue if it didn’t pay off in the long run.
I read someplace that billions of dollars annually are conned out of people through the various scams out there on the Internet. For the most part – I hate to say – they can’t be stopped. They are sent from all types of email addresses, all types of servers, from all over the world.
Bottom line is that you should keep deleting them. The best course of action is to stop responding to them and opening them. Report them as spam or report them as phishing attempts. Your email provider may provide insight with how to do this. They will ultimately stop coming.
Remember that if the bad guys can’t trick you into parting with your money they will focus on someone else – until they find someone who does. Just don’t be that someone.
Your website is an important investment. Whether you made it yourself or paid to have a professional develop it for you – you wouldn’t want to lose it. We have taken on clients who were with the largest company in the world who lost their website because of having no backup. The terms for doing business with that company even state they are not responsible for the loss of the website.
I couldn’t imagine not backing sites up. Nowadays the technology is ever present to back everything up. In the not too distant past, hard drives were much more expensive than they are now. Hard drive space is extremely inexpensive nowadays – so there’s no excuse for a company to not make backups.
One third of today’s sites are on a platform called WordPress. Security updates happen often and changes can be readily made to WordPress sites – so they need backups at least every day. Whether there’s a server catastrophe or simply one of your employees blowing up your site while making changes – it can be recovered.
Definitely protect your website investment by hosting with a company that provides daily backups of your WordPress website every night for at least a month. That will avoid having to restart your website from scratch.
It’s always great to get referrals from others. That’s why it’s important to deal with a web company that understands your community and reciprocates by referring business to you.
As a point of curiosity I usually ask when the last time was that a company received referrals from their web hoster or web developer. Usually the answer is never. I am amazed to usually find out at that point that even their local folks they give their web business to don’t bother to refer others back to their own clients.
You need a web developer that does that as a rule rather than as a request. You need a developer that one or more of its staff are in high powered networking chapters and experienced at referring business back to their own clients.
That’s what reciprocity is all about. You need a web company that practices that at every opportunity.
One way that can be done is if the web development company has a directory they can be part of. That helps clients get found on the web and increase their web traffic by keeping information about them on thousands of sites on the Internet.
If you have been feeling that your relationship with your web company is rather one sided, it’s time to deal with one that cares about you!
Recently I checked search engine placements for some web clients. I landed on a property maintenance website. The site was quite interesting. However, the site had no address information on it!
I navigated everywhere in disbelief – curious to find an address. My search left me wondering how a site visitor would know if this outfit would be able to help them or not. Further investigation (I’m sure a standard Internet surfer looking for a service would likely never do) showed the site’s domain was registered to someone in California.
Looking for a property maintenance companies in the Keene NH area, a company from California wasn’t going to be any kind of a fit!
Besides the above issue – not having at least a city and state on a website – if looking for someone local for services – you don’t know if they’re local – even if they are. Most web visitors won’t bother to check – they’ll just move on to the next search result.
Business owners – particularly those providing services – should make their geographic location fairly obvious on their website. If their original web developer didn’t, it’s usually an inexpensive change to make to a site. It will increase business from the web and filter out callers who are too distant to be a good fit.
This week is a closely related follow up to last week’s article. As I mentioned then about a lack of a phone number, it seems like it would go without saying that a website trying to sell something should have an email contact someplace on it.
Last week I was referring to a web developer’s website with no telephone number or email address on it. Some developers put forms on their sites to try to get out of displaying an email address. The main issue with forms – besides the fact that form output is more often than not considered spam by many mail servers – is that people generally don’t want to fill them out. It’s much easier these days to click on an email link and send off an email saying exactly what you want to say. Of course you can speak it even more clearly but email may be the next best thing.
If you can’t find an email address to contact someone, my advice is to just move along to the next prospective web developer on your list. You want to deal with a web development company that makes it easy to be reached.
Do I really have to say a web developer simply has to have a phone contact where one can at least leave messages?
As unbelievable as it may seem, there are those out there without a listed phone contact. I saw a website recently where there was no telephone number or email address on it to reach someone for service. I know you won’t believe it when I tell you that individual has been in business for many years.
The owner asked me how I managed to get so many clients and grow CharlesWorks to handling thousands of websites. I couldn’t resist mentioning there was no contact information on the website. The response was they didn’t want lots of junk emails and people knowing their phone number.
It reminded me that back in 1998 I started CharlesWorks because I wanted to help as many people with their web related needs as possible. I knew from having been in business earlier in my life that there are always going to be spam phone calls (just like spam emails). But that’s part of the cost of doing business.
So think twice if you can find a phone number to talk to someone.